Category Archives: Books

Culture and utility

Re-reading a chapter in Marshall Sahlins’ Culture and Practical Reason, Le Penseé Bourgoisie today I could have cited multiple chunks of though-provoking writing. Instead, here’s a simple passage outlining, in brief, the argument of the book.

Mountains and Minds

I’m reading Robert Macfarlane’s Mountains of the Mind. A terrific books from which I could quote any number of passages. Here’s one nice passage: “Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are … Continue reading

What are traditional societies for?

From a great review of Jared Diamond’s book The World until Yesterday, by Wade Davis in The Guardian “Traditional societies do not exist to help us tweak our lives as we emulate a few of their cultural practices. They remind … Continue reading

The Future of the Book (as seen by IDEO)

Interesting video of 3 future book concepts made by IDEO. Seems to me that much of what they propose already exists, just not in one device or set of seamless interactions. Still – a thought provoking set of ideas on … Continue reading

And there there were none

I heard some time ago that the works of Iris Murdoch, a literary figure famous not just for her works but also her descent in the hell of Alzheimer's disease, trace the decline of her mind at an early stage, … Continue reading

Book Review: Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter

  Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter: Reflections on Research in and of Corporations - Edited by Melissa Cefkin It is now safe to say that the introduction to the story of ethnographic and anthropological praxis within industry has been written. This … Continue reading

The Comfort of Things

I won't even pretend to have read it yet but having looked at two posts about Danny Miller's Book The Comfort of Things, I'll be picking up a copy as soon as I can. In the meantime, two quotes, lifted … Continue reading

Party Pooper

Some cracking commentary on the Blair administration in David Hare's review of Andrew Rawnsley's 'Shakespearian' book, The End of the Party: "Any psychiatrist who began to question the behaviour of a leader permanently surrounded by half-eaten bananas would already have … Continue reading

Book Review: Doing Anthropology

I've got a book review out in the latest edition of Anthropology in Action (16:1), which is a Special Joint Issue with the Irish Journal of Anthropology. it is a review of Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research – Patricia Sunderland and Rita … Continue reading

From the Air

There's a piece in this weekend's FT magazine about a project that was conducted in the last days of the Shah of Iran's rule – to photograph the country from the air:  When Georg Gerster first flew over Iran on … Continue reading


This book is a perfect little addition to that pile of books next to the toilet which require little concentration but demands something absorbing (if not also absorbent): Indexed. It joins that ever-growing section of the bookshop which is 'Books … Continue reading

A Recommendation

Read this book. It is difficult to put down and at time like this when tectonic plates are shifting underneath us it feels like an appropriate book somehow. This piece explains a little bit about it (but is fuill of … Continue reading

Big Job, Good Job

Thinking Allowed (10th Sept 2008) alerted me to this fascinating looking book on, well, poo. It appears to adopt the now familiar 'social life' approach examining a substance and set of practices which, for reasons that are as obvious as … Continue reading

Data Data Everywhere

Reading Future Reading today, an essay in the New Yorker on the history of technologies for creating, publishing, organising and consuming the written word, from Mesopotamia to Google’s ambitious project to digitise the world’s books I was put in mind … Continue reading